Promoting newcomer health and safety through the engagement of settlement agencies. Agnieszka Kosny Institute for Work & Health Toronto, Canada

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1 Promoting newcomer health and safety through the engagement of settlement agencies Agnieszka Kosny Institute for Work & Health Toronto, Canada

2 Work we are doing with settlement agencies that serve recent immigrants What led to our collaboration with settlement agencies Why integrating work and health resources into settlement programming is a good idea Development of the Prevention is the Best Medicine Toolkit (Set of H & S modules that can be integrated into loyment programming) On-going projects: Piloting the PBM Toolkit OHS vulnerability survey in 4 settlement agencies Opportunities and Challenges - working with the settlement sector 2

3 Regardless of migration stream most newcomers eventually hope to work In Australia and Canada most immigrants end up in paid loyment (Aus: 66%, skilled worker visa - 87%) International research suggests: Difficulty finding work end up in survival jobs not commensurate with education/training Recent immigrants are more likely to work in physically demanding, (involuntary) part-time, torary and non-unionized jobs Immigrants are less likely to receive job-related training Not know/understand rights Recent immigrants are more likely to be injured at work Less likely to be compensated after work-related injury (less likely to file or receive workers compensation benefits) 3

4 What led to our interest in working with settlement agencies... In 2010 we conducted a small study to examine the experiences of recent immigrants after a work-related injury (in-depth interviews with 28 workers, and 14 service providers) IIWs knowledge of rights (reporting, refusing unsafe work) What facilitates/impedes reporting of injuries, the filing of claims Experiences with WC system, loyers, HCPs Effect of injury on worker and his/her family Many workers said they were ill-prepared for the job Job in Canada was vastly different from job in home country Working with unfamiliar tools and equipment Work pace and physical conditions of work were different 4

5 At the job where injured, few received training (both job and OHS). Workers knew little about rights and responsibilities (or that of their loyer) related to work and health Workers typically did not know about workers compensation, entitlements, process of filing a claim etc. dependent on others Participants reported that sometimes IWs were misled by loyers: Told incorrect info about rights (must work certain amount of time before filing claim, not eligible for workers compensation) Directed to go elsewhere (loyment insurance, social assistance) Told the injury would be dealt with internally Because workers were not aware of their rights or loyer responsibilities loyer s actions interpreted as kindness when they were attts at claim management 5

6 My boss called me, to the hospital and said Well Mina, you know, you are short for three weeks because you had to go for your surgery, that is okay. I ll pay you for these three weeks but when you come back to work you have to pay me back this money. Again, I didn t know what she was talking about, and I said Sure, thank you so much! For me it was like, okay, like this paycheque comes, I pay the mortgage until I sell the house. I thought, oh my God, she s an angel to do this favour [for] me. (Mina, IW) During settlement, almost everyone received info about loyment but not loyment standards, work and health rights and responsibilities or what to do in the event of an injury KEY SUGGESTION: Introduce work and health resources during loyment-related programming in settlement agencies 6

7 When immigrants receive settlement or work-related resources, do these include information about health and safety? Did a scan of resources aimed specifically at newcomers in Canada (and several years later, in Australia!) In both jurisdictions we found: Resources often contained only work-related information e.g. Live and Work in Victoria (17 pgs) no mention of ES, OHS or WC Most resources focussed on one topic few were comprehensive Often work related resources only focussed on a work & health topic in passing e.g. Welcome to Ontario Guide (52 pgs) - 16 pgs on work, only mentions OHS in one sentence. Resource delivery related to work and health did not appear to be systematic e.g. One off workshops or access to resources depended on newcomers finding them Resources often buried deep within websites Settlement agencies provided a wide variety of loyment-related programming 7

8 What we did... Prevention is the Best Medicine Toolkit Small grant from the Ontario WCB to develop a work and health toolkit for newcomers using settlement services (loyment-related programs) Engaged work and health researchers, settlement agencies, health and safety associations, adult education/training partners Feedback from instructors and recent immigrants (via two focus groups) during development Content review Ministry of Labour and the Ontario WCB, language review via a large settlement agency in Toronto Toolkit developed in basic English because most loyment programs are offered in English 8

9 Prevention is the Best Medicine Pilot project funding to develop an educational toolkit for newcomers using settlement services (loyment related programming) Focused on OHS and WC Skills for Change (Large Settlement Agency in Toronto) Safe Workplace Promotion Services Ontario Multilingual Services, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Ministry of Labour Injured Worker Consultants (Injured worker group) OHCOW Workers Health and Safety Centre 9

10

11 Prevention is the Best Medicine Toolkit Toolkit has been downloaded over 1000 times In 2011, WCB in a different province (Manitoba) approached us about adapting it for their provincial context Over 400 downloads in Manitoba However the Toolkit has never been formally piloted or evaluated Currently we have put in a proposal to pilot and evaluate the Toolkit in five settlement organizations in Manitoba and Ontario Deliver it as part of loyment programming get feedback from students and instructors about content, delivery options, design Conduct interviews with services providers and senior policy makers in the immigration, settlement and health & safety field to understand some of the barriers of incorporating work and health content into settlement services How can this content be delivered in a systematic manner 11

12 Further work with settlement agencies & newcomers examining OHS vulnerability The research and toolkit development strong partnerships with settlement agencies Partnered with settlement agencies to administer survey designed to measure OHS vulnerability to recent immigrants Background The term vulnerable worker increasingly used in literature vagueness about what it means, what leads to vulnerability Often vulnerability is conceived as a demographic or workplace factor (e.g. Immigrant workers; those working in small workplaces) that increases risk of injury Issues How does it lead to work-related injury or illness? What are the mechanisms? Perception that injury risk is inherent to a particular group Where should interventions be focussed? (is it on building awareness? Improving workplace conditions? etc) 12

13 OHS vulnerability Peter Smith and colleagues developed a 29-item measure of OHS vulnerability. Assesses four related, but distinct dimensions, as the key features of increased injury risk. 1. Exposure to hazards 2. Workplace level policies and procedures to protect workers 3. Occupational health and safety awareness 4. Empowerment and participation in injury prevention Def: Where workers are exposed to hazards in combination with inadequate workplace policies and procedures and/or low OH&S awareness and/or a workplace culture that discourages worker participation in injury prevention The survey has been administered to a sample of 1835 workers (in Ontario and BC) in did not include a substantial number of recent immigrants. 13

14 OHS vulnerability survey recent immigrants Working together with four settlement agencies that delivery programming to immigrants At least 50 recent immigrants will be recruited in each organization less than 5 years in Canada Worked in the last year Survey is in English but working on some translations (currently Spanish) Will allow us to compare responses of recent immigrants to a sample of Canadianborn labour market participants Determine whether they have received mandatory OHS training (recent legislative change in Ontario) By assessing different dimensions of OHS vulnerability, the measure will allow us to better understand the specific dimensions of the labour market context that might place recent immigrants at increased risk of injury, and therefore pinpoint where primary prevention activities should be focused 14

15 Working with settlement agencies to promote newcomer health & safety caveats and opportunities... Our links with settlement groups evolved organically allowed us to reach workers who may end up in precarious, poor quality jobs (at least initially) Challenges: The focus of settlement agencies is on many aspects of settlement health, housing, language (and loyment) - Time & $$$ Sometimes curriculum is set The implicit message may not be popular: we need to tell you about health and safety because you may end up in a crappy job and be injured at work Worry about understanding and having to deal with complex (legal?) issues when address work and health Having to keep up with legislative or policy changes? 15

16 Why does this make sense to work with settlement agencies to improve the health & safety of newcomers? Strong case to be made for why health and safety is important AND why it should be introduced alongside of loyment preparation AND why settlement agencies can/should be involved Health and safety information is received from multiple sources and via several different methods more likely to be retained A large percentage of recent immigrants access settlement agency services - 66% within six months of arrival in Canada An Ontario based study found in the first 10 years, 83% access settlement agencies In Australia difficult to find stats 63,000 participated in AMEP ( ) 16

17 Working with settlement agencies to promote newcomer health & safety caveats and opportunities... Settlement agencies have a major focus on loyment - skill up-grading, job search workshops, CV writing, loyment mentorship When talking about loyment it s logical to talk about health and safety a natural fit Settlement agencies can provide an opportunity to discuss worker/loyer rights and responsibilities, what to do if injured in a safe environment Not meant to replace existing initiatives or programs (e.g. on-site loyer training) rather should be viewed as a complement to these activities 17

18 Kosny A, MacEachen E, Lifshen M, Smith P, Jafri GJ, Neilson C, Pugliese D, Shields, J. (2011). Delicate dances: Immigrant workers experiences of injury reporting and claim filing. Ethnicity and Health. DOI: / Kosny A & Lifshen M. (2012). A national scan of loyment standards, occupational health & safety and workers compensation resources for new immigrants to Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 103(1): Kosny A, Lifshen M, Smith P, Saunders R, Rhooms R. (2014) Prevention is the Best Medicine: Development of a work and health toolkit for new immigrants using settlement services in Ontario. Perspectives interdisciplinaires sur le travail et la santé [En ligne], , URL : Smith PM, Saunders R, Lifshen M, Black O, Lay M, Breslin FC, LaMontagne AD, and Tompa E (2015). The development of a conceptual model and self-reported measure of occupational health and safety vulnerability. Accident Analysis and Prevention; 82: Prevention is the Best Medicine Toolkit: Resources, articles and research related to immigration, work and health: My contact information: 18

19

20 Demographic, occupation and workplace variables associated with increased risk of overall OH&S vulnerability (N = 1,492) 50% 40% 30% 20% 44% 31% 31% 27% 47% 34% 41% 40% 37% 24% 10% 0% 20

21 Different groups may experience OH&S vulnerability differently 40% 30% 37% 33% Blue = policy and proc Red = Awareness Gold = Empowerment 27% 28% 20% 10% 14% 16% 16% 15% 9% 21% 22% 18% 0% LT LT LT

Contact information. Dr. Agnieszka Kosny, Scientist Institute for Work & Health 416.927.2027, ext. 2167 akosny@iwh.on.ca or akosny@gmail.

Contact information. Dr. Agnieszka Kosny, Scientist Institute for Work & Health 416.927.2027, ext. 2167 akosny@iwh.on.ca or akosny@gmail. Contact information Additional copies of this report and the full study report on which it is based are available at: www.iwh.on.ca/immigrant-workers-experiences If you have any questions or comments,

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